“Praying for peace is an essential part of Christian worship and, indeed, of human existence,” said World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Samuel Kobia about the International Day of Prayer for Peace, to be celebrated on Sept. 21.
On that date, or the closest Sunday to it, WCC member churches worldwide are invited to pray for peace. The Church of the Brethren is one of the member denominations of the WCC.
This WCC initiative saw the light two years ago in the framework of its Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV) program, and was welcomed by United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan. The International Day of Prayer for Peace celebration coincides with the UN International Day of Peace.
The theme for this year, “…And still we seek peace,” was chosen by churches from Latin America, the region of the DOV annual focus in 2006. Churches are being asked “to be especially mindful of the violence in Latin America, but also of the suffering of children, elderly, women and men in the Middle East,” and to pray for “cessation of all violence and for lasting peace,” said Kobia.
The International Day of Prayer for Peace is an opportunity for church communities in all places to pray and act together to nurture lasting peace in the hearts of people, their families, communities, and societies.
Suggestions on how to observe the day include art contests, educational and cultural events, prayers and reflections on peace in the community, workplace, school, or home, and prayer vigils with other faith communities.
Copies of a brochure, prayers, and other resources are available on the DOV website http://overcomingviolence.org/en/about-the-dov/international-day-of-prayer-for-peace.html.
The WCC promotes Christian unity in faith, witness, and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 348 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican, and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church.
(This article is taken from a World Council of Churches press release.)